|The Walshes- Father and Son
|By Rick Winterson
The Walsh family have been mainstays of the South Boston scene for three generations, both in their working lives and their services to the community. This spotlight is about Peter Walsh, Sr., and Peter Walsh, Jr.
As you may have guessed, this interview began in a typical South Boston fashion. It took place on the Fifth Street back porch of Peter Walsh, Sr., overlooking his patio and flagstone wall. Strong tea and Irish soda bread (raisins but no caraway) were served. The sun umbrella looked bright and unfaded, so the Walshes are obviously among those conscientious South Bostonians who store their lawn furniture away during the winter.
Peter Walsh, Sr., is a lifelong South Boston resident, and the son of Peter and Anna (Joyce) Walsh. Both of them were from Galway, and both became American citizens. Peter, Sr., was the oldest of ten children – four boys and six girls. He went to Gate of Heaven School and graduated from South Boston High School in 1952, so you can imagine he has attained the wisdom of maturity by now.
Peter, Sr., married Marion Lewis, now deceased, and they had five children. Peter, Jr., is the oldest. Michael, Bobby, Paul, and Marylou are the other four. Peter, Jr., Bobby, and Marylou have combined to give Peter, Sr., ten grandchildren.
He began his working career as a wool sorter in the Boston Wharf buildings over on Summer Street. Nowadays, that’s a virtually unknown occupation around Boston. Later on, Peter, Sr., became a dispatcher for White Fuel where he spent 38 years and was a member of Teamsters Local #25.
Even with five children and a demanding job, Peter, Sr., found time to be active in Little League. He was also a volunteer with the St. Brigid’s Home and School Association, handling the weekly Bingos for some 15 years.
Peter, Sr., is the face of the Walsh family at official functions. Most recently, he represented the Walshes at the Joe Walsh Award ceremony held by the South Boston Collaborative Center. Joe was Peter’s brother, and his work with those afflicted by addictions and alcoholism is still a legend in Southie.
He is still active in a variety of pursuits. He “walks the Island”, sometimes more than once each day, and he’s a member of the Castle Island Association. Along with this is a Life Membership in the Columbia Yacht Club, where he once kept a boat. His activities are rounded out by some yardwork and some babysitting.
When the tea was half gone and one slice of bread was left, the interview turned to Peter Walsh, Jr. He is the oldest of five, went to St. Brigid’s and then went on to Don Bosco. He holds a Liberal Arts degree (Government concentration) from the Harvard Extension School.
Peter and his wife, Mary Ann (Boudreau) of Wollaston have four children. Meghan (17) and Nora (15) are both students at Boston Latin; Bridget (10) and Conor (7) attend St. Anne’s Elementary in Neponset, where the Walsh family lives.
Peter has spent 25 years in various governmental positions at the city, county, state, and federal levels. He began as an intern in Suffolk Superior Criminal Court, and rose to Courtroom Procedures Clerk over 13 years. Then he was an aide to City Councilor John Nucci. In 1994, he ran for the Clerk’s position against John Nucci and ran a credible campaign, even though Nucci won.
After that, Peter spent five years as the Community Affairs Representative for the Massachusetts Archives. He played a part in reorganizing and strengthening that particular state function. From ’98 to 2000, he worked on the federal Census, and then took a position as Assistant Register of Deeds in Suffolk County.
From 2002 to 2004, he was an Assistant Deputy Superintendent for grant writing in the Plymouth County Sheriff’s office. He obtained Homeland Security grants for rationalizing communications between departments, and grants for vocational programs to reduce recidivism. Currently, Peter is employed by the Trade Show division of Teamsters Local #82.
As you know, Peter has announced his candidacy for Clerk of Supreme Court, Suffolk County. He decided to run at the end of March, and turned in 2,000 signatures (1,000 are required). He claims his campaign manager is his son Conor. When asked why he decided to run, he says, “There hasn’t been a contested election for this office since 1988.”
In their spare time, he and Mary Ann spend time on their kids’ activities. He’s also an L Street Brownie, who swims at L Street Beach year around. He keeps in shape with five-mile runs three times a week.
The interview ended with a final sip of tea and one last bite of soda bread.